You ever walk into a store and cannot find an employee to ask a question, then when you do they are super distracted, point you to an aisle and don't really help you beyond the minimum? Then you walk into a store and you get greeted, the employee asks what you are looking for today, they help you compare between two items, they give you information on them, let's you try them with a return policy and even throws a discount you way. You are going to feel VERY different about those two experiences. In fact, one of those experiences is probably going to cause you to have a negative association with that place and one will have you wanting to come back to shop again with a positive association.
This is the metaphorical example of the difference between doing something to "just do it", get it done, or get by and doing something with intention. Intention one of the most important behind the scene programs running in your brain in both training and life. I'm going to break down intentional movement in training and why just simply changing the intention of your movements can cause the same workout to have a different effect on your body.
Here's the thing. Your body knows when you are half-assin' it. Simply walking through the gym doors and "doing it" isn't enough and if I am really being real, it is wasting your time. If we were in person right now I would completely prove this point and have you scratching your head by psychologically tricking you into being distracted during a set of body weight squats and then having you so focused on tempo, activation and control during that same exact movement that you would finish feeling like you were squatting 225 lbs. I tell all my clients, I would rather them do 5 body weight controlled, connected and intentional reps than 25 fast, all over the place and with no regard.
Now you are probably wondering how the heck to make a movement intentional. It is much like meditation, you know its good for you but how do you get your brain to actually do it. Here are the following steps that I have developed over the years of training and moving into an intentional space;
1. Know why you are doing what you are doing | Just doing a workout you've seen on Instagram, following a program that was cookie cutter or randomly put together with no strategy from some influencer, or repeating the same workout you've been doing since college ... ain't it. There is absolutely no purpose in doing something if you do not know why you are doing it. Think if you went to a job 9-5 every day and had no idea why you were doing it. You would be extremely unmotivated to go. But, instead you go (even if you hate it) with the intention to make money, progress in positions, and build your resume/savings account etc. There are very few things in your life you would just simply do without knowing or asking why because you saw someone do it. If someone today said to you "hey put 300 dollars on your door step and by tomorrow you'll have 500", you wouldn't do it without asking how it worked and why the outcome is getting 200 extra dollars. But yet you are super quick to do without knowing/understanding the intention with your own body. The reality is, most people are more tied to their financial well-being versus their actual well-being (but that's a discussion we will have another day).
2. The principle of relativity | It is so important to know how to train in the moment and to have a scale of relativity. What this means is a burpee today might feel hard as hell when yesterday it was a breeze. This is normal, this is okay and this is not always an indication of effort or the workout being effective. Intention is the powerhouse behind the movement. A burpee done with the same level of intention and effort is going to hit different depending on the day. Learn to train in the range of what you have that day. If you feel like it is harder and get distracted by the mentality of feeling discouraged, intention slips away and you get back to half assed movement. Do NOT let intention slip. Just think, okay, today this is my effort range, this is what intensity feels like today, I am moving with the same intent in this range.
3. Do not compare | Intention is an individual art form. As much as I am giving you pointers, I cannot tell you what to feel and how to feel it. This is a conversation you need to begin having between you and you. So don't think you should feel something someone else is in a workout. What is difficult to one person may not be to you or vice versa. Learn how to reflect inward and do not let other people's reactions or words effect your own.
4. Remove distractions | This is one of the greatest tools you can take with you in very aspect of life. You need to tune out to tune in. Read that again. You need to tune out to tune in. In our digital age, the very thing you are probably holding in your hand to read this article is also the very thing distracting you on the regular. In fact, you probably got like four notifications pop up at the top of the screen by now. Identify and remove. For me that may mean putting my phone on airplane mode, jack up the volume in my head phones and not making eye contact with anyone else. Find how you can put the blinders on and stay in it.
5. Find your key words/tunnel vision | Once you get in this no distraction/tunnel vision, there are several things you can do to stay in it. Because the reality is, as shit starts to hurt, that can become a distraction itself. That little voice of doubt creeps in and tries to interrupt your playlist talking smack about how you should stop, take a break or slow down. We are gonna need to mute that voice. So I use my own words. I repeat things when I am running for example like power, speed, breath, flow. Find what is your mantra, and use that as your tool of staying in that space of intention.
6. Train inward | Last but not least, you gotta be doing this for you. I am not saying that physical or aesthetic goals are wrong (we all have them), I am not saying trying to flex on your ex doesn't feel good, but those things have to be accessory to your main WHY. If you are training externally, you are going to stay in a constant battle of not truly understanding yourself, your body, or how to ultimately get where you want to go. You gotta do this for the you and inside of you. That man/woman who knows their potential is in there waiting to be found. You gotta want better for you. Intention is almost impossible to find, no GPS, Siri, or Google Map can help you, if you can't even find you first.
I hope this helped! Let me know how intentional movement is going for you!
Catch my energy,